Discovery Communications Holiday Party, The Campbell Apartment, New York
November 30, 2010
Last year I decided to forgo the Discovery Communications Holiday Party and opt instead for another party that allowed +1's. This year I had a hankerin' for the old New York warm darkness of The Campbell Apartment, combined with a strong love of HD nature shows and people who don't know they're pregnant. As far as I know, no babies were birthed in The Campbell Apartment bathroom.
Because I don't cover the TV scene it's not always at the forefront of my mind how HUGE these networks are. Discovery is huge. It's safe to say Sarah Palin's Alaska, on TLC, is one of their most talked about shows - either for late night monologue fodder, inspiration for gossip blogs (hello, Willow and Bristol going all f word on the f book), and in the Food Emporium (true story).
Discovery Comms is also home to OWN, the New Year's Day looming Oprah Winfrey Network, which has been building it's roster of programming though competition shows like "Your OWN Show: Oprah's Search for the Next TV Star", talk shows like "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" (not without its associated drama) and of course BFF's "Gayle King Show", and my personal favorite "Finding Sarah," following Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson through her foibles. There is no way the queen is happy about that. And it's not just storm shows, cake molds, and surprise fetus chunkin' over there at Discovery, they have their little "digital media" family as well with Petfinder (dangerous lunchtime activity), HowStuffWorks, and TreeHugger.
So of course, with all the new buzz and a towering plate of magic for 2011, you would think they'd gather their celebs, a few sharks from shark week, a pumpkin, some beer, and some Storm Chasers, throw us all in the Cash Cab and dump us into a Man V Wild party, right? Nah. Just a chill night with some passed foods like saucy spicy shrimp, long twigs of duck (one was wasabi spiced and I didn't know it until I had a seizure), freshly rolled sushi, and the miniburger's party competition: Bánh mì sliders (a first!).
I spied two golden people. One was the tall, satin teal swathed Nancy O'Dell of Entertainment Tonight past, futurely of OWN's "Your OWN Show...". Nancy O'Dell's husband, Keith Zubchevich, was with her. Carson Kressley, cohost of "Your OWN Show..." was golden person #2. This past summer I was waiting to cross the street at 23rd and Broadway when a tall, brown, hairless creature with great calf muscles and a gym bag whisked in front of me. It was Carson. Little tidbit for you.
Paula Zahn was also there, belly up to the bar with Joe Abruzzese, President, Ad Sales, Discovery Communications. I didn't realize it was her until I heard the two of them call me back to get a shot of them facing the camera, "for our kids," joked Abruzzese. I also met Gina Doost and Alison Taub of Inside Edition, Joanna Brahim of TLC, and Kate Coyne, assistant managing editor of People.
I spotted TVNewser's Alex Weprin; The New York Times' Brian Stelter; Molly Stark Dean of TV Newser; John Hendricks, Founder and Chairman, Discovery Communications; and David Lieberman, USA Today talking by the bar entrance. Matt Hickman, Mother Nature Network, was enjoying a cocktail with Joshua Pramis of Travel and Leisure while Randy Fenoli from Say Yes To The Dress entertained Joanna Brahim and TLC's Jennifer Williams. I found Bill Goodwyn and Catherine Frymark of Discovery Communications as well. Storm Chasers' Reed Timmer was sippin' on some Brew Masters bubbles while Brew Masters host Sam Calagione, founder Dogfish Head Brewery entertained Sarah Rabil of Bloomberg News.
Buddy Valastro, the Cake Boss, was making the rounds last night! I also met Jessica Velmans from ABC Primetime, Marjorie Kaplan from Animal Planet, and Frazier Moore from Associated Press as well as Herb Herberson from BBC Bloomberg, who was very...vivacious. I found Joe Abruzzese, David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications; Stuart Elliott, New York Times; and James Ellroy, host of Investigation Discovery's "James Ellroy's LA: City of Demons" getting chummy.
Guests left with Blu-Ray or DVD versions of Life On Earth: a box set of episodes from Life, Nature's Most Amazing Events, Planet Earth, and Blue Planet. I left with a belly full of the most delicious salad ever, a super tasty mini burger, and one of my party favorites: a party size cup of mac and cheese. Maybe next year they'll throw in the Police Women of Broward County for good measure.